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Date:	Wed, 14 May 2008 14:24:16 -0400
From:	Jeff Garzik <>
To:	Sage Weil <>
CC:	Evgeniy Polyakov <>,,,
Subject: Re: POHMELFS high performance network filesystem. Transactions, failover,

Sage Weil wrote:
>>> What is your opinion of the Paxos algorithm?
>> It is slow. But it does solve failure cases.
> For writes, Paxos is actually more or less optimal (in the non-failure 
> cases, at least).  Reads are trickier, but there are ways to keep that 
> fast as well.  FWIW, Ceph extends basic Paxos with a leasing mechanism to 
> keep reads fast, consistent, and distributed.  It's only used for cluster 
> state, though, not file data.
> I think the larger issue with Paxos is that I've yet to meet anyone who 
> wants their data replicated 3 ways (this despite newfangled 1TB+ disks not 
> having enough bandwidth to actualy _use_ the data they store).  

I've seen clusters in the field that planned for this -- they don't want 
to lose their data.

> Similarly, if only 1 out of 3 replicas is surviving, most people want to 
> be able to read their data, while Paxos demands a majority to ensure it is 
> correct.

This isn't necessarily true -- it's quite easy for most applications to 
come up with an alternate method for ensuring correctness of retrieved 
data, if one assumes Paxos consensus was achieved during the write-data 
phase earlier in time.  Checksumming is a common solution, but not the 
only one.  Domain- or app-specific solution, as noted, of course.

Overall, reads can be optimized outside of Paxos in many ways.

> (This is why Paxos is typically used only for critical cluster 
> configuration/state, not regular data.)

Yep, I'm working on a config daemon a la Chubby or zookeeper, based on 
Paxos, that does just this.  :)


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